The Dallas Mavericks grabbed their hopeful center of the future in the 2023 NBA Draft as they selected Dereck Lively II with the No. 12 overall pick.
Dallas was originally slated to pick at 10, but the Thunder traded up two spots while Dallas shed Davis Bertans' contract. Later that night, they used the traded player exception acquired from this trade to grab the No. 24 pick Olivier-Maxence Prosper and Richaun Holmes.
The Mavs needed rim protection badly, and they got an elite one in Lively II. He will likely be fighting with Dwight Powell and Richaun Holmes for the starting center spot in training camp, and fans should be excited about what he can bring to the team.
Mavericks coach compares rookie Dereck Lively II to NBA star center
The Mavericks' coaching staff also seems excited about what Lively II can bring, and Mavs assistant coach Jared Dudley had some praise for him in a recent interview with NBA Insider Marc Stein on his weekly radio show "The Saturday Stein Line with Marc Stein."
"He's a guy that we feel can be a la Bam Adebayo eventually where you can switch ball screens and keep them in front, he has that potential. "
Dudley compared Lively II to star center Bam Adebayo, and if he can be anything close to that, Mavs fans will be delighted. In six seasons for the Miami Heat, Adebayo averages 14.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.9 blocks per game. Adebayo has turned into one of the best centers in the NBA over the years, and his game has developed tremendously.
He has turned into a versatile, do-it-all center, and hopefully, Lively II can defend in space just like Adebayo can. He showed an ability to switch well in the Summer League, and he disrupted every shot attempt in the paint.
Not many centers can do that, and Lively II has the ability to be a defensive monster on day one. He said he wants to be a dominant force in the NBA, and he has the physical tools to be just that.
We'll have you covered with all the news surrounding Dereck Lively II and the Dallas Mavericks heading into next season, so stay tuned.